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Old 04-06-2016, 04:06 AM   #41
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Our budget: Groceries $300/month, eat out $160 - $200/month, Alcohol - $10 to 20 maybe. This does not include household supplies/cleaning stuff.

This is for 3 of us....

DS works in a restaurant and does bring home stuff every once in a while (some of it is experiments gone wrong though like the recent mango pie - yuck!!). We eat a lot of stir-fry, pasta, soups, and egg dishes and minimize the amount of red meat in our diet.

We buy rice in 25lb sacks. Veggies are usually whatever is in season and cheap though occasionally I supplement with frozen or canned. Everything else we use is bought on sale or with coupons. I pick up meat on the sales and freeze it for later use - I always have plenty of pork and chicken to just pull out and thaw as needed.

Our eating out is rarely anything fancy - pizza, sub sandwiches, local mexican or asian places, and the occasional burger. Once in a while we go out for a nice steak meal - maybe every 3 or 4 months. In March we went to Morton's and blew our eat out budget so I just cut out the pizzas and subs for the rest of the month. I made my own homemade ones for much less instead.....
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Old 04-06-2016, 07:16 AM   #42
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I average about 3k - 4k a year on food&drink, including eating out.

It also includes the proverbial coffee at starbucks and such (or Ikea for 0.75 with free refills).
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Old 04-06-2016, 08:23 AM   #43
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2014
Groceries - $5,200 ($100 a week, food only, two ER's)
Restaurants - $2,547
Wine/Beer - $1,344

2015
Groceries - $5,200 (" ")
Restaurants - $2,997
Wine/Beer - $1,647

2016
Groceries - $5,200 budgeted (" ")
Restaurants - $3,600 budgeted
Wine/Beer - $2,000 budgeted

The upward Restaurant spend is a result of our evolving ER preferences. In our early ER years, cooking at home was a priority due to the usual fears about running out of $ before life years. As we've relaxed and settled in, we have deliberately bumped the Restaurant spend to allow for regular fine dining experiences mixed in with more frequent meals at less expensive, ethnic or fast casual-type places.

The wine/beer budget, on the other hand, is the predictable result of all the wine and craft beer tasting we've done since ER'ing and spending six months of each year traveling. It is frighteningly easy to get used to a better quality of both.
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Old 04-06-2016, 08:39 AM   #44
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I spend about $300 a month for groceries/eating out/liquor...and I eat well.

I can't justify ever spending $1000 to $3000 in a month on food/liquor, the value just isn't there for anyone who has basic cooking skills.
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Old 04-06-2016, 08:41 AM   #45
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Just the two of us. DW retired last year, I'm still working. We are at the high end for food, drink and dining out. For retirement our budget allows $1500.00 a month, I'm a challenge and she needs her wine to take the edge off. There's a lot of cushion in our food allowance. A typical week has us eating out 3/4 times a week. Once I retire, I'll be the cook and we'll be eating in more often.
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Old 04-06-2016, 08:47 AM   #46
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I spend about $300 a month for groceries/eating out/liquor...and I eat well.

I can't justify ever spending $1000 to $3000 in a month on food/liquor, the value just isn't there for anyone who has basic cooking skills.
Am curious what methods you use for cooking your liquor at home.
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Old 04-06-2016, 08:52 AM   #47
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Am curious what methods you use for cooking your liquor at home.
Actually, I used to make my own beer but don't anymore. One of my friends makes pretty good beer and wine, so every now and then I will have some of his. Overall, though, I spend less than $100 a month on liquor and eat most of my meals at home.
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Old 04-06-2016, 08:59 AM   #48
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After reading this thread, I'm going to open a bottle of wine even though it's just 10a.
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Old 04-06-2016, 09:06 AM   #49
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No useful input here but an anecdote:
When we were growing up, Mom barely knew how to turn on the stove. We ate out about 5 nights a week and "eating in" consisted of ordering take-out.

Mom (now 86) still doesn't cook and eats out breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day. It's become her entertainment.

OTOH, I've learned to cook really well and DW and I enjoy some really great meals at home. Our eating out expenses remain high as we consider ourselves foodies and I'm always looking for the next good meal to make at home.
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Old 04-06-2016, 09:15 AM   #50
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We spend about $500/month on groceries and $150/month on alcohol. We've spent less than $120 in restaurants YTD. That figure excludes meals eaten while traveling, which I book as Travel, so it's mainly quick stops here and there (Subway, for example) when it's not convenient to go home for a meal.


We love our home and have always preferred a leisurely meal made at home to getting dressed up and going to a restaurant.
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Old 04-06-2016, 09:17 AM   #51
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Am curious what methods you use for cooking your liquor at home.
I use roughly 1/3 of a bottle of white wine to make bolgonese. Less red to make a marsala sauce. Bourbon brined pork chops are a favorite. Jerk Chicken gets a good splash of rum. Wouldn't make chili without a bottle of dark beer thrown in.

I love cooking with alcohol. Sometimes it even goes in the dish.
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Old 04-06-2016, 09:27 AM   #52
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We live in a very rural area...18 miles from the "big" town of 15K so by default eat almost every meal at home..

Average around 400 a month for 2 for all food and drink, including eating out. I always have a lot of staples in the house including a full large freezer..minimal spend on booze.

My question for those of you spending larger on food and drink, how does this impact your weight? When we turned 60 we found weight control becoming a problem and eating at home makes it easier for us to control that.
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Old 04-06-2016, 09:34 AM   #53
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No useful input here but an anecdote:
When we were growing up, Mom barely knew how to turn on the stove. We ate out about 5 nights a week and "eating in" consisted of ordering take-out.

Mom (now 86) still doesn't cook and eats out breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day. It's become her entertainment.

OTOH, I've learned to cook really well and DW and I enjoy some really great meals at home. Our eating out expenses remain high as we consider ourselves foodies and I'm always looking for the next good meal to make at home.
man, this sounds familiar. We did eat home cooked meals nearly every day when I was a kid, but they were not very good. Mom and her husband don't cook at all now--and in the years before dad died, they also ate all meals out.

Part of the change is due to better logistics for groceries (no longer limited to iceberg lettuce in the winter, and two kinds of apples!); rest of it is like you--we love to cook and experiment in the kitchen, and most of our restaurant expenses are for experiences that we can't do at home.
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Old 04-06-2016, 09:38 AM   #54
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...

My question for those of you spending larger on food and drink, how does this impact your weight? When we turned 60 we found weight control becoming a problem and eating at home makes it easier for us to control that.
As DW tells her staff and patients, she runs 3-4 times a week so that she can indulge in wine, chocolate, and nice food. Me too. Hate running, but would hate the results of not running more. (Plus, during the week, our dinners frequently consist of salad + wine + cheese; my breakfast/lunch consists of grazing on apples or other fruit throughout the day.)

--But, not yet 60...
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Old 04-06-2016, 09:40 AM   #55
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Part of the change is due to better logistics for groceries (no longer limited to iceberg lettuce in the winter, and two kinds of apples!); rest of it is like you--we love to cook and experiment in the kitchen, and most of our restaurant expenses are for experiences that we can't do at home.
Another part is greater access to information. Go look at a vintage 1970s Betty Crocker cookbook. It's awful.

And also there's much greater assimilation of ethnic cuisines today than back then. Mostly when I cook at home I'll make Asian (Indian, Thai, some Chinese), Mexican, Italian, and French dishes.

No meatloaf. No casseroles with condensed soup. No jello molds. Nothing at all like Cherry Pineapple Bologna with Potato Buds ™ . . .

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Old 04-06-2016, 09:43 AM   #56
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My question for those of you spending larger on food and drink, how does this impact your weight? When we turned 60 we found weight control becoming a problem and eating at home makes it easier for us to control that.
It helped make us obese.

That was part of our combined 100+ pound weight loss, less eating out.

Restaurant food is typically higher in calories and sodium* than anything I would every make at home. So there's a benefit for us to not eat out as much.

*not everyone is sensitive to sodium but between weight loss and being very diligent about reducing sodium I no longer take BP meds! That crap made me so ill. If I was 30 minutes late with a dose it always felt like my head was exploding. I was hospitalized a couple of times because of issues with the meds. No more!
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Old 04-06-2016, 09:45 AM   #57
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Retirement Budget (For Two People for 10 months of the year)

Food (Groceries, alcohol, paper products, toiletries) $11,000
Entertainment (primarily dining out) $7,500
Above equals 14% of before tax budget

2015
Food 10,392
Ent 7,387

2014
Food 10,114
Ent 9,041

2013
Food 10,480
Ent. 5,942

Two months of the year spent in Mexico in a Condo. Totals for Food and Ent there average $2,000-$2,500 for the 8 week period.
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Old 04-06-2016, 09:45 AM   #58
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My question for those of you spending larger on food and drink, how does this impact your weight? When we turned 60 we found weight control becoming a problem and eating at home makes it easier for us to control that.
A great question, and one I wanted to ask the $10,000+ restaurant responder (but didn't have the nerve )

In our case - we hike/race walk about 40 miles a week, so that's 4,000 free'd up calories for dining/drinking. On top of that we weight lift and do yoga, plus a 1X weekly 30'ish bike ride. Without those, we'd for sure make a major shift in both the Restaurant and Wine/Beer budgets.
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Old 04-06-2016, 09:53 AM   #59
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I'm at around $10K for the year. That includes groceries, alcohol, eating out (rarely for dinner, but frequently at work for breakfast and lunch), household miscellany bought at the grocery store (cleaning supplies, etc.).

Even though I eat in a lot, I do like high quality ingredients
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Old 04-06-2016, 10:02 AM   #60
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Spending more on food doesn't necessarily mean you're eating more food. It probably just means that what you're eating costs more.

We spend a lot because we buy the best quality we can find and do use a lot of expensive specialty foods. Seafood including fresh ahi tuna, king salmon, fresh berries, nuts, organic fruits and veggies, organic dairy, eggs and meat, no prepared foods - all from scratch. Weight is down.
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